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Change for the Better - A Devotion

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Romans 12:1-2 (AMP)
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Change is good. Change is necessary in the transformation process of God. However, change can be uncomfortable with its uncertainty. People are more prone to make the best of a bad situation than to take a chance on a better one. It happens all the time as believers settle for substitutions and counterfeits to fill the voids in our life rather than reaching out by faith into the realm of hope and taking hold of God’s Promise of a future that is good. What happens if good is not good enough? What happens if God is not enough? Conformation to this world is not a new concept but an age old definition of the comfort zone of life. But do not worry or be dismayed God will reach right in to your well-formed and well-cushioned bubble of protection and shake things up if the desire of your heart is to have a better life. What if I do not like God’s Best for my life? What if what He has for me is less desirable than how I am living now? Before you hastily respond “Of course, I want His Best for my life…” or “Don’t be ridiculous His Way is more desirable than my own” evaluate your response for clarity. If you were absolutely sure that God is able, Jesus is enough and His Spirit is your helper, I would think that it would not be so difficult to make a “decisive dedication of your bodies as a living sacrifice to God which is holy, devoted and consecrated well-pleasing to God. This is our reasonable service and an act of complete spiritual worship. We want God. We want the things of God including His Provision and Promises obtained by faith. However, people struggle with the very notion of change so much they will accept a life conformed to this world fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial custom rather than submitting their whole life and entire being to the transformation process that will renew their mind creating new ideals and attitudes, as well as proving that which is the good and acceptable and perfect Will of God is better for you!

Galatians 6:14-16 (NLT)
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

By dedicating our old life to the new life promised by the Lord for His People, we are not accepting a “new life” in terms of stepping out of current situation into a brand new one. It is not like buying a new house in a new city and packing up your belongings to move altogether. It is more like refinancing your life. Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin in full. We are now free to live without the bondage of debt from our old existence ruled by fear of judgment and death due to the penalty it carried. We have been granted a pardon. It is a second chance. Too many times believers assume that if they can live a religious life that God is going to transplant them immediately rather than transforming them right where they are. You were created with a purpose and plan by God containing a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Jesus Christ paid the price so you now have the keys to doors that once were locked in your life but grace now holds open for you. If I buy a brand new house, it probably does not need any work at all and is move in ready, but to have it I had to leave behind everything to move. But if I refinance my house and live debt-free in it, now I can do all those things I planned to do long ago and fulfill my vision and dream for this house. You are in this world but not of this world nevertheless God has placed provision and promises to aid in the fulfillment of our purpose and plan while we are here. Salvation did not change God’s Plan for our life but rather perfected it. He has not changed His Mind about His Will for our life. Transformation in God requires change right where you are. His Plan included every single element of your life – change comes through you. Your attitude and actions determine the course of your life. Choosing a better life in Christ does not necessarily transport you but rather transforms you.

Mark 10:17-22(NLT)
As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Most people if asked today would not consider themselves to be rich and affluent unless given the opportunity to compare their living conditions with the impoverished state of people around the world. Americans take their life for granted in so many ways never experiencing the hardship that many people face around the world. Not to mention the dangers in many religious countries who have such intolerance for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that Christians die every single day for their faith. Yes, there is such a thing as modern day martyrs. We live in a society where the poor are given food and shelter through governmental systems and even those who are homeless shelters to begin their life again. I work for an educational institution. There is a law in place that allows homeless individuals to receive an education for free by simply proving they are homeless. I cannot count the men and women who have submitted applications from transitional housing facilities that will leave the program due to rules against things like drugs and alcohol addiction. They would rather sleep with a bottle of booze than accept shelter from the cold or a warm meal in their bellies. It is heartbreaking. Jesus Christ died to open the door to a better life. Fear of change has led us to hold on to possessions and perceptions that keep us living in the poverty of sin rather than leaving it behind to follow Jesus Christ. People embrace religion as a means to an end and avoid a real relationship with the Lord in fear that He might require a sacrifice that we are unwilling to part with. Obeying the commandments of God but never falling in love with Jesus Christ will lead to nowhere. But those who are willing to count it all as “garbage” compared to knowing Him more – they will receive treasure in Heaven that is incorruptible. Are you like the man who turned and walked away from Jesus in love with what He had and unwilling to part with it be made brand new?

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

Jesus Christ will make everything new in your life. Note that He does not say, I am doing something new or making something new, but it clearly states that “I am making everything new!” Think about everything in your life past, present and future. It is all contained in God’s Plan for your life. But unless by faith you are willing to let go of it so the Lord can renew it – it will remain the same. You want change then you are going to have to release everything in your life to the restorative and renewing power of Christ. It is the redemption power of God that brought Jesus out of the grave and empowered the Lord to change our life from brokenness to completion. The Word goes on to say, “It is finished. I am the Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End!” Can your trust reach from the beginning of your life to the end of it? You must strive to do so if you want to have everything that the Lord has promised. If we submit our life and everything in it to the Lord, we will be victorious inheritors of all these blessings and many more that belong to us as Children of the Living God! God completed the heavens and the earth along with everything in it before you and I drew our first breath. (Genesis 2:1) Nothing in it was taken for granted or left out. He loved you before time began and wrote every single moment of our life based on this fact. (Psalm 139:16) Those who choose to daily submit everything that they do to Jesus Christ will find that He is making everything new in our life. (Psalm 37:5) But change still does not mean a necessary escape from the problems of this life but safe passage through them by the Grace and Goodness of God!

Isaiah 43:18-20 (NLT)
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.”

If the Lord came to you in the flesh today and said directly to your face, “Hey __________ I am about to do something new. Forget everything else you have planned it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. I have already begun!” How many of us would tell the Lord, “Okay, I am in! Let’s do it!” Oh stop lying, you know that the first thing we would do is interrogate Him to see if it is something we wanted or a place that we wanted to go. Then we would ask Jesus what was in it for me. Oh yeah, and don’t forget that sign we need from at least three different people and confirmation from our pastor to step out on faith. We invest so much of our own time, talent and treasure building this cozy nest called our comfort zone that very few people would jump out and follow Jesus without some convincing. Many who do will run back at the first sign of rain not even waiting for the storm to hit. There is no condemnation in these words just a bit of conviction as I am just like you. He promises to make a pathway through the wilderness but we are bent on a well-paved, well-marked highway with several rest stops along the way. He promises to create rivers in the wasteland but we demand a well-stocked, overflowing fridge. The wild animals seem to have enough sense to thank God in the midst of the dry valley for His Provision but people are bent on complaining. The Lord has promised to make rivers of Living Water flow through the wastelands of this world. Are you willing to forget the past and take hold of your future and hope promised and designed by God for your perfection? (Philippians 3:12-14) He makes new things out of nothing so go ahead and take a chance. (Romans 4:16-17)

Romans 8:27-30 (NLT)
And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

I was married once before I met the one God had for me. I am not ashamed of it because my divorce is covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ. When I married this individual, I knew that I was out of the Will of God but I had wandered so far at that point I believed the lie of the enemy that there was no turning back and that God had somehow changed His Mind for me therefore missing the perfect Will of God. While married, I had three precious and wonderful children. But when enough was enough, and the marriage ended – God’s Plan for my life continued to develop. Even in the midst of my sin and rebellion, His Purpose was not destroyed albeit somewhat delayed. God did not tell me to abandon my children as they were part of my past but rather as we moved forward these children would become a fulfillment of our family. God would never have allowed these children to be born if they were not part of His Plan and Purpose for my life. Now when I left the marriage there were many possessions that I left behind, as well as people who are no longer a part of my life. However, God caused everything to work together for the good of those (we) who love God (Him) and are called according to His Purpose. When my husband and I married fifteen years ago, we became a family as we dedicated EVERYTHING in our new union to the Lord. I share all this to say that those things you truly love, all the good things in your life (which includes anything God gave you even if from your past) will make it to your future. It is all part of His Mercy and Grace but nothing will be restored or renewed and perfectly placed in His Plan until EVERYTHING is surrendered to the Lord. To submit to the transformation offered to achieve a new life in Jesus Christ requires change. Your situation will change. You will change. Your position will change. But the Promise for God is that He will never change! God’s Glory is trying to bless you in every detail of your life. He is changing everything for the better. But without change, life remains same ole same ole. You will not have the plan and purpose you were chose for working out every detail for good because you are still trying to do it yourself. Submit your life and everything in it to the Way and Will of God today! Holding nothing back press on even when you just want to run back – stand firm on the Word of God for your life. He is making all things new. He is leaving nothing out. In fact, in the end you will be complete lacking no good thing!

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

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